Dino Snores for Grown-ups

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Dino Snores for Grown-ups

A midnight feast of science-based fun for adults-only at the Natural History Museum. Guests will set up camp in the shadow of Dippy the diplodocus' skeleton in the museum's impressive Hintze Hall. A three-course dinner with accompanying quiz is followed by science shows, comedy, live music, a dinosaur drawing class and the chance to explore the museum's many galleries and exhibitions after dark (and drink in hand). An all night movie marathon will take place for those who don't want to waste time sleeping, and a hot breakfast will revive everybody in the morning. Book well in advance.

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Think of the coolest thing you’d like to do in London. Got it? Okay. Now I’m about to trump all over that and blow your prehistoric-obsessed minds:

How about a night sleeping under the infamous bones of Dippy? Just to caveat, this isn’t a romantic affair. Besides, I can’t imagine spooning a skeleton would be that comfy. (No hard-on puns intended.)

Whether they were inspired by Ben Stiller’s antics, or felt like giving the extinct creatures something that wouldn’t have been around in their day… A sleepover at the Natural History Museum welcomes guests with several events throughout the year. The kids got it first. So there were one or two alterations that had to be made to make it a little less PG. Cue the alcohol and the appropriately-inappropriate talks: I give you Dino Snores for adults.

Predator tip number 1: Get there early. Let’s face it; you’re up against a load of wannabe Paleontologists. And let me tell you – they are as punctual as you think.

Once you’re checked in, you’re given a foam mattress and tokens for a welcome drink. Seeing as it’s a rather pricey affair, it would have been nice if more than one beverage was included – at least a tipple with the dinner too?

Predator tip number 2: Pick an alcove and go back for a second foam mattress. Alcoves are more secluded and you’re more likely to win when it comes to the fun game of sleeping bag hide and seek at 5am. And to the latter point, they have tonnes of spare foam mattresses, so once the last of the troops is checked in, staff are happy to give out extra to make your back a little happier.

The rules? Have fun. Don’t get too drunk. And no ”doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel”… Enough said. Although you could argue that seeing as half of the creatures inside the chambers of the National History Museum are extinct, they weren’t “doing it” enough.

Predator tip number 3: Book under a last name that is towards the ‘a’ end of the alphabet. You’re split into three different groups according to names, each representing a prehistoric era. We were a ‘T’. And that unfortunately meant that we didn’t get seated for our three-course meal until 10pm. And by that point I most certainly resembled a carnivore at breaking point. They knew who was in which group prior to the evening. So a little note in the FAQ email advising those in the late diner’s group that having a snack before arriving will prevent you becoming a ravenous raptor, would not have gone a miss.

Whilst the rest of the fossil fanatics were dining, we were taken to the first activity – an insect sex show. After seeing parts of a fly’s anatomy I thought I would go by life without ever confronting, it was time for a personal highlight – gin tasting. We delved back through the plantations and history of the Juniper, on a journey that’s destination was sampling some of mother’s ruins finest hard stuff.

That set us up perfectly for the Ugly Animal stand up comedy. The comedian did a great job and got mammoth laughs. I’ll go as far to say that even the Stegosaurus cracked a rib. And the staff were NOT happy about it to say the least. My chuckles were short lived though. As my stomach took matters into its own hands when it announced its hunger to the rest of the group. Perhaps taking audience participation a little bit too seriously.

We were sat at 10pm and received our mains at around quarter past. Though the food was nice, it was so late by this point I couldn’t really appreciate it for what it was – so perhaps someone that dined early could correct me about the meal.

Predator tip number 4: Pack a onesie! After devouring our food, it was time to change into something far more appropriate and don our furry all animal costumes – as many others had already beaten us to.

It has to be said; walking around the Natural History Museum at this point was rather surreal. Dressed in a onesie and taking part in a life drawing class where the model was an ancient giant sloth as the midnight hour was looming… Whilst others took part in a quiz or a creepy crawlies tasting session?! I mean, you can see why the event is so popular.

At this point, I took it upon myself to have a cheeky half hour power nap, ready and rejuvenated for the movie marathon that saw you through to the early hours. My alarm was a beautiful harpist, who happened to be playing the main theme tune to everyone’s favourite dinosaur movie. It was time.

We watched Goldblum battle his way through attacks with nature’s first reptiles and then decided to turn in. Heading back to our sleeping bags, we were extra careful not to wake Dippy after seeing what he and his mates were capable of. We nodded off, content after having the kind of night that Jurassic dreams are made out of.

We woke up at around 7.30am and headed to breakfast in the main dining hall at about 8am. A traditional English breakfast was on the menu. But the length of time it took to reach tables saw a couple of diners fossilize. Generally speaking, I think the T-Rex robot could have done a better job in organising the caterers.

We tried to not let the minor niggles and the morning’s poor efforts spoil our stay. Because overall, Dino Snores is one of the coolest things you can do in London. Dippy is a great host and excellent night security – because most importantly, he didn’t wake up.